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South Korea to step up space program and expand cooperation with the United States

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South Korea plans to accelerate its space development agenda, including stepping up cooperation with the United States, which could help the Biden administration’s Asian strategy to control China’s growing global influence.

“We will expand our space cooperation with the international community, including the United States,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday, adding that Seoul would step up its space launch development program.

The speech comes two weeks after US President Joe Biden met Moon at the White House as part of Washington’s efforts to build a united front with allies against security threats posed by China and North Korea.

The United States and South Korea have agreed to end bilateral missile guidelines that have long limited Seoul missile development to less than 800 kilometers (500 miles). The end of the directive puts major Chinese cities under the range of South Korea’s missiles and increases Seoul’s ability to strike North Korea.

“The end of the Missile Directive not only means that we have secured our ‘missile sovereignty’, but also marks the start of our journey into space,” Moon said. Based on the strong South Korea-US alliance, “we will respond more proactively to the changing security environment,” he said.

After the US-South Korea summit in Washington, South Korea joined NASA’s lunar exploration coalition, becoming the 10th country to sign the Artemis Accord, a pact that governs standards behavior of participants in the lunar exploration program. It will spend 615 billion won ($ 553.1 million) this year on space development aimed at increasing its capacity to produce satellites, rockets and other key equipment, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT in February.

In his speech, Moon also suggested that South Korea could play a bigger role on the international stage. He said South Korea’s alliance with the United States was aimed at protecting democratic values ​​and human rights, adding that Seoul wanted to make it a “more comprehensive alliance.”

He also condemned the violence in Myanmar which has claimed hundreds of lives since the February coup, saying he believes a “Myanmar spring” will surely come “. Moon called in March for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political detainees there.

Before he’s here, he’s on the Bloomberg terminal.

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